Study Guide

You Should Have Known Reinvention

By Jean Hanff Korelitz

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It's hard to say which of the Sachses is more familiar with reinvention. Jonathan completely reinvents himself when he goes to medical school, creating a new backstory in which he's the victim instead of the villain. His supervisor at the hospital even observes that Jonathan becomes a different person depending on who's in the room, putting up masks in a way that's fascinating to watch but must be exhausting. However, when Jonathan's "perfect husband" mask finally comes down, it's Grace who must reinvent a new life for herself and Henry, and she's surprised to realize it's easier than she expected.

Questions About Reinvention

  1. Vita notes that Jonathan knew what Grace wanted in her perfect man, so that's what he became, but Grace doesn't necessarily believe that's a bad thing. What do you think?
  2. How does the artwork in the Sachs family apartment illustrate the theme of reinvention?
  3. How does Jonathan's ability to change "masks" so seamlessly affect Henry?
  4. Why is it so easy for Grace to disassemble her life in NYC and start again in Connecticut?

Chew on This

In healthy relationships, both partners try to fulfill each other's needs, but Jonathan takes this to an extreme by creating a false persona for Grace to fall in love with.

It's not as difficult for Grace to leave NYC as she expected because her connections there are shallow. Finding a stronger community in Connecticut helps her and Henry start their new lives.

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